A picky eater can make any meal challenging. I find this to be most true when it comes to the first meal of the day. I used to spend a half hour asking my daughter if she wanted pancakes or quiche or toast and jelly. Not so bad on a weekend but a nightmare when we are trying to get out the door for work or school.
I grew up with a bowl of cereal and milk waiting for me each day. But many picky eaters, prefer a variety of options so that plan won’t work. After months of struggling, I decided to look for easier ways to get her to the table.
When Did My Kid Become A Picky Eater?
I have no idea when it happened. She used to love everything. When we took her to a restaurant, I was proud to say, “We don’t have a picky eater in our household!”. One day she was excited about yummy cubes of butternut squash and the next day she decided that she would only eat pizza.
We are New Yorkers and big fans of pizza so that was cool for awhile. But then we realized that we can’t let one picky eater rule our world. There had to be a way to convince her that there was more to life than bread and cheese.
5 Ways To Get Them To The Table
The first thing we stopped doing was making plates of food and putting them in front of her. I don’t know if you know this but picky eaters can be tough. One undesirable plate can sit in front of them for hours! We couldn’t take it anymore. The emotions were running high and both hubby and I just could not identify with wasting food.
So here are five ways to get a picky eater to the table:
- Get them involved with shopping. If you can find those old school supermarket flyers grab a sharpie and your PE have at it. Ask them to circle the foods that seem interesting to them. It may even encourage them to try a few new things.
- Create a mini buffet. Picky eaters have an independent streak so let them be in control. Make a bowl of spaghetti and then place a variety of ingredients all around it. Try chopped spinach, marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, olives and any other item your picky eater loves. Then stand back and watch them create their own magical plate of goodness. You might just be surprised at what they put together.
- Invite your picky eater to be chef for the day. Choose a mealtime that works for you and hand them the apron! Grab a whiteboard and let the creation of a menu be a part of the plan. Don’t worry if the ingredients don’t make a lot of sense. It will all work out!
- Make it a themed event. Taco Tuesday is already a winner but what about Wonton Wednesdays? or French Food Fridays? Have fun coming up with your own celebrations. Another great way to build positive food memories with the picky eater in your life.
- Don’t stress. Be a good role model. If you are relaxed about it, chances are they will be too.
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LA is a plant-based advocate from the Bronx who loves a good Wonton Wednesday. Follow her on Instagram @blackgirlseat and be sure to read the latest issue of her newsletter, Recipes and Random-Ish. Sign up below for news and updates.